Better late than never, I guess. I was so bummed by not only the loss but how the Vols lost last week that I couldn't muster up the gumption to do my standard haiku early in the week.
Can Vols bounce back
Get win before October
Schedule gets brutal
Labels: tennessee football
posted by Michael Hickerson at 9/22/2012 08:59:00 AM
Derek Dooley seems like a really nice guy. It's too bad that he's likely gone at the end of the season.
He's yet to pick up that signature win. And he's had opportunities to do it. But I keep seeing the team under him making the same mistakes over and over again. Or falling prey to the same negative tendencies.
For example, the inability to adjust in-game to what the other team is doing. Once Florida decided to make their QB the second coming of Tim Teabow yesterdays, the Vols defense was completely flustered and you could see them giving up on play after play after play. It's hard to get back into the game and get a crowd back into the game (one that desperately wanted to get back into it, mind you) when time and again you don't make a play.
Another thing is the team's lack of killer instinct. After answering Florida's opening field goal of the second half with a touchdown drive, the Vols had everything going their way and could have put the Gators away for good. Instead, we miss an extra point (more on this in a minute!) and then the defense holds on a fake punt. Then the offense goes out of sync and Tyler Bray can't hit the broad side of a barn. There's a couple of a reasons for this--the biggest being that complete lack of a run game to try and keep the Gators honest. You live by the pass, you die by the pass. I said it after the NC State game--you can't win consistently on huge plays in the SEC. Teams will figure it out eventually, take that away and make you beat them with other aspects of the game. Tennessee didn't have those for a quarter and a half and, well, we all saw the results.
Back to my original point--this team lacks leadership to calm them down, focus them again and go back onto the field to try and make something happen. We have a great collection of players, but I don't see a cohesive team out there.
All of this comes to rest squarely at the feet of Dooley. I really feel like ever since we had 13 men on the field in the waning moments of the LSU game two years ago that the team and program hasn't been the same. That seems to be the crossroads for the Dooley era...it's all been shoulda, woulda, coulda ever since that point. We shoulda made the play, we coulda won, we woulda done better if....
Again, I like Dooley as a person. As a coach, I'm less than impressed. Maybe it's time to put the orange pants back on the hanger and try again....
posted by Michael Hickerson at 9/16/2012 04:38:00 PM |
Game Day visiting
Rocky Top must be rocking
Break seven year streak
Turning point for Vols
Start SEC season right
Hand Gators a loss
posted by Michael Hickerson at 9/12/2012 06:43:00 PM |
Vols can't look ahead
Must focus on the Panthers
posted by Michael Hickerson at 9/06/2012 10:06:00 AM |
Every year, just before kick-off of the first game, I'm reminded of just how much I missed football during its eight month hiatus.
The same feeling swept over me Friday night as I watched the orange and white come out onto the field for the first time in 2012 at the Georgia Dome. In a crowd that was decided slanted toward the Vols (lots and lots of orange), the Vols came out and took care of business against NC State with a nice 35-21 victory. Much of the credit for the win goes to a dominating thirty seconds of game play in which the Vols scored 16 points--two long TDs and a safety.
As I said Friday to a fellow fan, "And to think we've got three more quarters to go."
I saw a lot of positives in the game and for the season, setting up what I think could be one of the biggest showdowns the Vols and Gators have had in years when they visit Knoxville a week from Saturday.
The first encouraging sign was two long, sustained drives to end the first half and during the third quarter. One particular drive saw the Vols methodically drive on NC State and saw the Wolfpack take a TD because our offense had them on the ropes. Watching Derek Dooley get visibly excited when NC State took the time out and celebrate and congratulate his offense was a nice moment and I hope that this team can provide him with a lot more of these moments as the season unfolds.
The second encouraging sign was that the offense didn't abandon the running game when it wasn't necessarily paying dividends early in the contest. Tennessee slowly wore down the NC State defense until by the end of the first half and much of the second, the Wolf Pack was giving up more and more yards on the ground.
Possibly the most encouraging sign was that it looked like the staff made adjustments at half-time and the team executed them on both sides of the ball. The defense came up with four picks on the day, one bigger than the fourth-and-short that sparked the thirty seconds of scoring fury to end the first quarter.
On the negative side, I still worry that the Vols were too dependent on the long play to spark the offense and set things up. We've got a lot of potential there, but better teams in the SEC will take away those long plays and I'll be interested to see how Tyler Bray and company respond to that.
I will also point out that we got the short end of the stick from the officiating crew. I have no clue which replay they saw, but the one in the Georgia Dome from ESPNU clearly showed Bray breaking the plane of the end zone and scoring a TD as the first half wound down.
I also still have questions at kicker. I was worried the missed extra point would come back to haunt us, but thankfully the defense bailed Palardi out. He did redeem himself as the game went along and maybe it was early season jitters. Let's hope those are out because his leg could be the difference between a win and a loss at some point this year.
All in all, a nice way to start the season. Let's hope the Vols build on it into game two and aren't looking ahead to the Gators visits on September 15.
Labels: tennessee, tennessee football, tennessee sports
posted by Michael Hickerson at 9/04/2012 09:40:00 AM |